Wednesday, 27 September 2017

These Species Have Hung On for Millions of Years. Will the Trump Administration Push Them to Extinction?


The president’s terrible policies could leave an indelible mark on the country’s biological heritage.

September 21, 2017 Jason Bittel 

Pronghorn of the American West have been springing across this continent—at up to 60 miles per hour—for approximately 17 million years. Though sometimes called antelopes, these fleet-footed mammals are actually one of the few remaining species of giraffids, which also include Africa’s giraffes and okapis. The distinction led paleontology writer Brian Switek to call pronghorn “charismatic, strange beasts that have a touch of the prehistoric about them.”

But now, a reality TV host–turned–president may push these ancient ungulates over the edge of extinction. They’re not alone. Look across the country and you’ll find many species that quietly plodded along for many millennia before hitting a roadblock with the human race. Though the blame for these animals’ becoming endangered doesn’t lay squarely at President Trump’s feet, each time his administration hamstrings an agency or champions industry over ecology, these species inch a little closer to oblivion.    
Sonoran Pronghorn

Let’s start with those pronghorn, which have been around since before North and South America were connected—before human beings even existed. Once champions at survival, they even outlasted North America’s super-speedy, cheetahlike predator, the one scientists believe pushed pronghorn into evolving to become so freaky fast.

Continued  

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